Who We Are
The mission of the Victoria Symphony is:
To enrich lives through the shared experience of extraordinary music.
Below are the people on stage and behind the scenes that bring extraordinary music to life.
Music Director - Maestro Christian Kluxen
Christian Kluxen conducts with exemplary clarity and an almost celestial warmth – Berlingske Tidende, March 2016
Christian Kluxen is an artist who brings joyful, expressive music-making and a charismatic energy to both the concert and operatic stage. His success is built not only on his fine conducting talent but also on a mature, intelligent approach and artistic integrity.
Since completing his three-year Assistant Conductorship at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2013, Kluxen has conducted many significant orchestras including the Gothenburg Symphony, Trondheim Symphony and RTÉ National Symphony Dublin, as well as Kremerata Baltica at the prestigious Kronberg Academy Festival 2013.
During the 14/15 season, Kluxen held the post of Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. In the same season he made his Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut with the Netherlands Philharmonic and returned to the Philharmonia Orchestra for engagements in two of the orchestra’s regional series. The following season, Kluxen made successful debuts with the London Philharmonic and Royal Northern Sinfonia, returned to the Strasbourg Philharmonic and conducted an extensive and critically acclaimed tour of Madama Butterfly with Danish National Opera.
The current season sees further important debuts, including the Royal Philharmonic and Turku Philharmonic orchestras, and a Berlin performance debut with The Magic Flute at Komische Oper. Kluxen also makes a Norwegian debut, conducting Ariadne auf Naxos with the Arctic Opera and Philharmonic. Return engagements include the Victoria Symphony in Canada, the Helsingborg Symphony, two visits to the Norrköping Symphony and seven performances of Die Fledermaus with the Aarhus Symphony in Denmark.
Kluxen’s connections with his home country maintain a meaningful place in his career; he has worked extensively throughout Denmark, making his Danish National Symphony debut in 2013, and maintains regular relationships with the Copenhagen Philharmonic, South Denmark Philharmonic and Odense Symphony.
Born in 1981 in Copenhagen to Danish-German parents, Christian Kluxen has three times been presented with the Arne Hammelboe Scholarship by the Danish Conductors Association. In 2007 he was awarded the Jacob Gade Grand Prize to fund one year’s conducting studies in New York City, and in 2011 the Danish Richard Wagner Society awarded him the Bayreuth Bursary to visit the legendary summer festival. From 2010-2013 Kluxen was a member of the “Dirigentenforum” of the German Music Council, and in 2013 he was awarded the Gladsaxe Music Prize.
**This biography is provided by Hazard Chase.
Christian Kluxen is the 10th Music Director in the History of the Victoria Symphony, following:
Melvin Knudsen (1941-1948)
Hans Gruber (1948-1964)
Otto Werner Mueller (1964-1967)
Laszlo Gati (1967-1978)
Paul Freeman (1979-1988)
Peter McCoppin (1989-1999)
Kees Bakels (1999-2001)
Timothy Vernon Interim Music Director (2001-2003)
Tania Miller (2003-2017)
Music Director Emerita - Maestra Tania Miller
In 2016-2017 marked Tania Miller’s 14th and final season as Music Director of the Victoria Symphony in a position that she has occupied with distinction and acclaim. She has been a driving force behind new growth, innovation and quality for the Victoria Symphony, and has gained a national reputation as a highly effective advocate and communicator for the arts. As curator, she has distinguished herself in Canada as a visionary leader and innovator.
On the podium, Maestra Miller projects authority, dynamism and sheer love of the experience of making music. As one critic put it, she delivers “a calm intensity . . . expressive, colourful and full of life . . . her experience and charisma are audible” Others call her performances “technically immaculate, vivid and stirring”.
Recently celebrating the orchestra’s 75th anniversary in the 2015-2016 season, Tania Miller brought the Victoria Symphony on its first National tour with performances in Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver in concerts that were noted for their boldness, unified spirit and expressive vibrancy. Curating a season which included special guests Yo-Yo Ma, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and a host of extraordinary artists taking part in special festivals and events, Miller showcased the orchestra and brought them once again to new heights.
Tania Miller has appeared as a guest conductor in Canada, the United States and Europe with such orchestras as the Toronto Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Bern Symphony Orchestra (Switzerland), Oregon Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal, Vancouver Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Hartford Symphony, and Wroclaw Philharmonic (Poland) among others and looks toward an upcoming debut with the Chicago Symphony.
Maestra Miller’s early passion was opera; she conducted numerous productions for Michigan Opera Works in Ann Arbor (where she served as Artistic Director) and Opera McGill in Montréal. She obtained her doctoral and master’s degrees in conducting from the University of Michigan.
Miller received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria in recognition of her exemplary work as a leader and for her extraordinary artistic achievements in the community. In addition she was a recent recipient of the Paul Harris Award from the Rotary Foundation for her community leadership. Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music bestowed her with an Honorary Diploma for her impact on Canadian music in 2015.
Tania lives in Vancouver with her husband and two boys (8 and 10).
What the media has to say
“It was wonderful to hear this dark, lovely, somber work reclaimed by such a masterly performance by the VSO, led by Tania Miller, and what a gift she is to the city’s orchestra. She has absolute authority over the score, clarifying its dense textures, her long term thoughts giving it the shape it needs and bringing out every detail, its variety, its delicious orientalisms, the ravishments of the slow movement. She has the gift of disappearing into the music, the sign of a true conductor. It was 45 minutes of bliss.”
– Vancouver Sun
“…the audience called Tania Miller back for two encores, the second becoming a standing ovation. She had earlier complemented the SSO on a grand week together. The feeling should be mutual as Miller’s passionate, poetic, and highly articulate conducting was certainly a treat for the audience.”
– Saskatoon Star Phoenix
“From the resonant opening chord to the tumultuous closing bars Miller directed a reading which seldom, if ever, put a foot wrong. ”
– Victoria Times Colonist
The female equivalent of the male appellation “Maestro” in Italian is “Maestra”.
Musicians of the VS
The Victoria Symphony is made up of a diverse group of Canadian and international musicians. For a complete listing of our orchestra members, click here.
Giuseppe Pietraroia, Associate Conductor
Giuseppe Pietraroia is the Associate Conductor for the VS and Pacific Opera Victoria and is a former music director of the Victoria Choral Society. As a guest conductor he has been engaged by orchestras across Canada. He has also appeared with l’Opéra de Montréal, Opera New Brunswick and l’Opéra de Québec. In addition to concerts with the Victoria Symphony, season highlights include La Boheme for Pacific Opera and a debut with Edmonton Opera for Les Feluettes. Giuseppe Pietraroia is the recipient of the George and Jane Heffelfinger Pacific Opera Victoria Artist of the Year Award and the Canada Council’s Jean-Marie Beaudet Award in Orchestral Conducting. In addition to those honours, his recording with Marie-Josée Lord and l’Orchestre Métropolitain received a Felix Award and was nominated for a Juno.
Board of Directors
Victoria Symphony Society Board of Directors
Brian Butler, President
Honorary Life Members
Dr. Eric Charman, CM, OBC
Neville and Jill Gibson
C. Stephen Smith
Box Office (Tickets, packages, schedule inquiries)
Victoria Symphony Society
620 View Street, Suite 610
Kathryn Laurin, CEO
Jennifer Paget, Director of Finance
Jill Smillie, Director of Marketing
Lorraine Tanner, Director of Development
Colleen Youngblut, Senior Development Officer, Foundation
Rachael Blaseckie, Executive Coordinator
Allegra Bonifacio, Development Coordinator
Ben Carson, Education & Outreach Coordinator
Shandra Liss, Senior Marketing Officer
Kimberley Manerikar, Box Office Coordinator
Peter Burris, Orchestra Manager
Christopher Reiche Boucher, Librarian
Russell Bajer, Associate Librarian